A friend recently passed along this commercial by Indeed (job search app) and I couldn’t help but feel an instant connection to our pursuit with Forrest Stump. The first question:
What would make 10-year old you proud?
It’s not hard for me to remember exactly where I was and what was important to me at 10 years old. The picture above was taken just days after my amputation at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, and two years after they found the egg-sized tumor in my left tibia bone.
Since I’ve started advocating for the needs of the amputee population, some people have asked: “Why don’t you just raise the money to buy yourself a running leg? Insurance is the way it is. I’m sure a lot of people would be willing to help get you a leg.”
And that’s when my 10-year old self kicks in.
See, I’m pretty lucky, and that luck is called opportunity and privilege. I was fortunate enough to have an amazing support system in my family and treatment by renowned oncologists in a state-of-the-art facility at the Mayo Clinic, a premier medical institution. After that, I was fortunate enough to receive an academic scholarship to attend the University of Michigan and the Ross School of Business.
Yes, I could use my talents to raise money for my own leg, but I know there are other amputees out there that haven’t been so lucky. And I know my 10-year old self would be saying, “But what about the others?”
When you go through cancer, or lose a limb, you literally have to rely on almost every person in your life. This is really humbling, and it also makes you feel so blessed for every person that comes into your life after that. You want to help them, to repay them, to see them succeed.
I remember being in the hospital room, sick as a dog, but would always, ALWAYS thank my nurses no matter how small their task. Changing my chemo bag: thank you. Giving me a sponge bath: thank you. Taking me in for an MRI: thank you. It’s this experience that truly changes what you feel grateful for in life and how you set out to make a difference.
So, what would make 10-year old me proud?
To know that I didn’t just think of myself. That I used my story to help buoy up an entire community, to help start a movement towards justice for amputees, and to bring people like you reading this together to help people like me.
I hope you’ll consider donating to Forrest Stump to support our efforts. You can be part of the movement at: https://www.gofundme.com/forrest-stump